New Research Shows Aboriginal People Have Been Dwelling In The Desert Interior Of Australia For 50,000 Years

After studying pigment art at the site of Karnatukul, researchers determined that Aboriginal people have lived in the deserts of Australia for 50,000 years.

New research shows Aboriginal people have been living in Australia deserts for 50,000 years.
Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

After studying pigment art at the site of Karnatukul, researchers determined that Aboriginal people have lived in the deserts of Australia for 50,000 years.

In an exciting turn of events, scientists have pointed to new research which shows that Aboriginal people have been dwelling in the desert interior of Western Australia for 50,000 years, showing that these individuals were some of the earliest people in the world to have made their home in the desert.

According to Phys.org, this discovery initially came about after custodians of the rock shelter of Karnatukul invited scientists to research the area. Karnatukul, which is also referred to as Serpent’s Glen, sits around 500 miles outside of Exmouth. The new research has shown that Aboriginal Australians were happily occupying the deserts here not long after they had arrived in the northern region of Australia.

While Karnatukul was originally studied in the 1990s, it was believed that Aboriginal people had lived here 25,000 years ago. However, after researchers recently returned to learn more about the pigment art that was found at this site, it was discovered that this region had actually been occupied for 50,000 years rather than the original estimation of 25,000 years.

As the new study has shown, “This research recalibrates the earliest Pleistocene occupation of Australia’s desert core and confirms that people remained in this part of the arid zone during the Last Glacial Maximum.”

Along with the pigment art that was studied, researchers also discovered 25,000 stone artifacts and charcoal that had been left behind in hearths in Karnatukul and were able to use radiocarbon dating to verify how long ago Aboriginal people had been settled here. Particularly interesting were the animal remains that were also found, which gave researchers clues about the past diets of these people.

However, researchers were especially intrigued to discover that these Aboriginal Australians were true innovators of technology. For example, a backed microlith was found in the desert here and was dated to 43,000 years ago, showing that these people were extremely well-versed when it came to the art of technology after developing tools with backing and hafting. This shows clearly that Aboriginals were truly gifted when it came to adapting to the harsh environment they were living in while continuing to develop new technology to aid their way of life.

Tools like this would have come in handy for both processing wood as well as being used as a spear barb, and the backed microlith that was excavated was dated and found to have been used 15,000 years earlier than any other similar tools found in Australia, with others found only dating back to 24,000 years ago.

The new studying showing that Aboriginals were living happily in the desert interior of Australia 50,000 years ago has been published in PLOS One.